Thousands of the nation’s largest water polluters are outside the Clean Water Act’s reach because the Supreme Court has left uncertain which waterways are protected by that law, according to interviews with regulators.Totally unacceptable.
How did this happen?
The court rulings causing these problems focused on language in the Clean Water Act that limited it to “the discharge of pollutants into the navigable waters” of the United States. For decades, “navigable waters” was broadly interpreted by regulators to include many large wetlands and streams that connected to major rivers.However it's being argued that ...
But the two decisions suggested that waterways that are entirely within one state, creeks that sometimes go dry, and lakes unconnected to larger water systems may not be “navigable waters” and are therefore not covered by the act — even though pollution from such waterways can make its way into sources of drinking water.Bold emphasis mine. This pollution will still make its way into sources of drinking water.